Relocating halfway round the world to take up a new position may be a daunting prospect to some, but for Sam Johnson it has been a worthwhile experience and one he feels has really benefited his career.
“I’d always thought it may be nice to work somewhere else, but never actively pursued it,” Sam says.
This changed when, during a business trip to ASSA ABLOY New Zealand, Sam enquired about a vacancy he had heard about there as a business development engineer working in an export role. He then applied for the position.
“It seemed like a great opportunity to gain some new experience and expand horizons, not just professionally but also personally,” Sam says.
Taking up this opportunity meant Sam had to relocate to Auckland from Nevada in the US, where he had been working at Interlock USA since 2007, firstly as an applications and design engineer and later as a product manager. At Interlock, he came into close contact with the export and product development team at ASSA ABLOY New Zealand.
“The combination of the opportunity, knowing some of the team at ASSA ABLOY New Zealand, and the thought of living in New Zealand made this a decision based on a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Sam, who adds that making such a move always means coming into contact with a different culture.
“When you compound that with a new office in a new country, 7,000 miles from what you are used to, the change can be quite significant,” he says. “Fortunately, I’d visited the office on previous business trips. The challenge at first was who to go to for what subjects, but that wasn’t a problem for long.”
One challenge Sam admits he is still coming to terms with, however, is navigation.
“Traveling from the northern to the southern hemisphere, I find the sun is in the ‘wrong’ place, and it has affected my ability to get around,” he says. “But as I become more familiar with the landmarks, I find this gets easier every day.”
Now well settled into his role, Sam’s tasks are to grow the export market in New Zealand and to provide technical market support for the products manufactured for ASSA ABLOY Australia and Interlock USA.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to grow professionally and learn from this new role,” he says. “And as I grow professionally, I’m constantly reevaluating what my next steps are. Being available to take an opportunity has given me the chance to advance my career.”
Sam thinks that others who believe they can work outside their current location should grab such a chance.
“It seems incredibly overwhelming to move half way around the world, but once you commit, you’ll be surprised at the results,” he says. “So far, it’s been worth it for me.”